The Word of the Day is Play

Posted on by Denny Waxman

NPR shared some commentary on a study conducted by Cornell about walking. The idea was simple: when people went for a walk under the impression that the walk was a scenic tour, they were less likely to splurge on chocolate pudding after the walk. Another group went for the same walk. This walk was treated as an exercise, and those people were 35% more likely to indulge in more pudding. Exercise often makes people want to reward themselves. The commentary concluded that there is a relationship with the perception of exercise, and the necessity to “make workouts fun”.

The main idea is confusing activity with exercise and thinking that exercise is important for good health. We don’t need structured exercise; we need activity that is enjoyable, stimulating, and challenging. Healthy people like to be active; they are naturally drawn to walking and other activities, sports, or projects. We enjoy a natural activity because it is, for lack of a scientific word, fun and engaging. When children are at play, they do not want to eat. Food is far from their minds when they are playing. But when you tell kids to do their homework, or clean their room, they’ll almost always suddenly be hungry. Play is an open-ended experience that enhances our appetite for healthy food, to sustain our healthy play.

Most of my clients report that they greatly enjoy their walks. Walking is a natural activity and different from a being on a treadmill or taking power-walk. Walking as a part of your daily life or for the sake of walking is fun; you can simply enjoy observing what’s around you or let your mind wander. Integrating activities that you enjoy doing that are fun and challenging to you is like being a child at play.

Less structured exercise leads to less unhealthy snacking. In a recent blog about snacking, I talked about how snacking is perhaps a general response to a deeper frustration we may have. Feeling like we have another task at hand that is exercising is another form of work. And as they say, “All work and no play…”

No Comments | Tags: 7 Steps

Amberwaves, Elizabeth Karaman, and macrobiotics

Posted on by Denny Waxman

Good morning,

I would like to share with you an informative and entertaining article by my friend Elizabeth Karaman about the trials of therapy, extreme work-outs, and macrobiotics. This article will be published by Amberwaves later this summer. Enjoy!

Below is a PDF of the article that you may want to share.

Acupuncture With A Fork – 6-8-14

 

ACUPUNCTURE WITH A FORK

Elizabeth Karaman

 

Reprinted from Amberwaves, Summer 2014

 

My best friend, a shrink, has a patient she calls grouchy girl due to her reactions to suggestions made to her during their sessions. Every range of emotion is expressed, from sullen anger to stomping on the floor while raging against her plight in life and her (imagined) beleaguered state. After her visit, grouchy girl feels compelled to work out her perceived unhappy existence at a gym where she pedals away on a bike in a frenzy. Or alternatively she attends a boot-camp session taught by a former navy seal.  Despite her tremendous effort to silence her angry inner voice, she is still left emotionally frustrated. Her volatility gets temporarily anesthetized, but still ripples throughout her being.

Extreme workouts are the latest trend for burning body fat and for emulsifying a jagged brain chemistry. High-Intensity Training is the name of this current workout craze to be found at selected gyms throughout the country. It’s no longer enough to lift some weights and follow that with a thirty-minute aerobic session. All of a sudden, this routine is shunned—it seems the extreme workout people believe it’s no longer adequate to remove all the body fat found on most Americans now. Speed running or intense cycling for short bursts of time are what’s required, they say. I guess none of these athletic connoisseurs have ever seen the star macrobiotic counselor Denny Waxman or the vegan doctor John McDougall, both of whom possess trim bodies despite their supposedly no-no diet of 80 percent carbohydrates, ten percent protein, and 10 percent fat. They do exercise, but moderately, and their diet is currently reviled by the paleo-enthusiasts and the gluten-free mavens.

At a gym, a lot of these people pay more than $100.00 an hour to get as sleek as a jaguar, but unfortunately for them, their jungle physiques have yet to be attained. Instead, they acquire a lot of muscle and stamina on top of their fat stomachs filled with big pharma’s medications to lower stubbornly high cholesterol levels, off-the-charts high blood pressure, and borderline elevated glucose. These rigid people wouldn’t dare eat a single kernel of any wholegrain food. Instead they eat bison or buffalo meat, along with the standard beef, chicken, fish staples, combined with salads loaded with olive oil. Protein is the key component of their supposedly healthy regimen. What they’re not being told is that places like MD Anderson Cancer Centers and the Salk Institute, among others, have learned that animal protein fuels the growth of cancer cells, in addition to contributing enough plaque to the cardiovascular system to cause a heart attack.

Accompanying 100-mile runs, double-spinning classes, and boot camps, body detox centers have arrived to provide the latest choice of purges.

Take your pick:

  • Drink enough saltwater to induce vomiting—this supposedly cleanses the contents of the stomach;
  • Drink water with epsom salts to induce diarrhea and further rid the body of toxins.

But wait, that’s not enough…

  • Also offered are extended juice fasts, colonics, and wheat-grass rectal infusions.
  • If more cleansing is in order, chelation therapy, ozone therapy, or bloodletting can be offered to satisfy the most fastidious customers.

In the 1970s, I visited China where I saw skinny yet muscular Chinese slurp down a bowl of noodles and then scamper up a palm tree as if it were a flight of stairs. Their diet contained tons of white rice along with a lot of Chinese vegetables and condiment-size portions of animal protein. They all had low body fat, tons of hair, clear skin, and flat stomachs. I was told that many of the men fathered children at an age when most men in America were reaching for Cialis to get their hydraulic system to work.

During the mid-eighties, my husband and I ran so low on money while vacationing in Florida that we were forced to forego such treats as ice cream, exotic, costly tropical fruits, expensive cheeses, and any animal food from land or sea in order to save enough money to get home. Instead we dined on the basic components of a macrobiotic diet. In my kitchen there, I still had brown rice, tofu, seaweed, lentils, cabbage, and collard greens—our splurge was on a bakery loaf of bread and rolled oats. In one week, my husband lost eight pounds and  I lost five, but we gained an inner calm and natural energy. All this for a few dollars, compared to the thousands it would have cost to join a gym or go to a detox spa.

Basically, macrobiotics is nothing more than acupuncture with a fork, which manages to balance the body without employing extreme measures. Give it a try. You may be pleasantly surprised and like what you find.

6 Comments | Tags: Articles and Research

Give Youths Back Their Health

Posted on by Denny Waxman
Play, or mischief?

Play, or mischief?

The Wellness section of The New York Times recently published a blog about the climbing numbers of sedentary youth in the country. Despite all claims that we as a country are making advances in health, it is clear that our health is declining and longevity is falling. Young people are at risk for developing degenerative illness, especially cardiovascular disease and diabetes, as well as cancer. In addition, 1/3 of our children between the ages of 6-19 are overweight or obese. There is a great concern that the U.S. is falling behind in education as well. There is a clear connection between being sedentary and a lack of interest or inability to learn.

 

Healthy people like to be active, challenge themselves, and learn. Throughout history, throughout the world, children have played outside without our involvement from morning until night, summer through winter. Why is it that our children no longer want to play? Being sedentary is a very clear indicator of poor overall health.

 

The article blames parents for not helping their children to exercise. That is not the solution. Healthy parents who are active and curious about life usually have children that grow up and foster similar attitudes and approaches. Health is a family issue. We learn about health through eating healthy foods at mealtimes. When healthy foods are reinforced at school, it becomes easier for children to make healthy choices.

 

Large quantities of poor-quality food do not encourage us to be active or foster an interest in learning.  We also have total access to unhealthy foods, but we have to seek out and make an effort to find high-quality, healthy foods.  Proper education about the long-lasting benefits of a plant-based diet and increasing access to healthy foods is the best solution for our youth and our future.

 

Michio and Aveline Kushi started the natural foods movement in the 60s by creating access to whole, natural, and organic foods. They encouraged the development of natural food stores and educational centers to make the food available and to teach people how to incorporate these foods into their daily lives. Now is a good time to make macrobiotic-style education more widely available so that a new generation of healthy children are better equipped to create a healthy future.

 

3 Comments | Tags: Articles and Research, Circulation

A Nation of Snackers

Posted on by Denny Waxman

In the final stages of completing the manuscript for my new book “The Complete Macrobiotic Diet,” the importance of meal times and eating without doing other things is on my mind and as timely as ever.

 

I am totally amazed at the poor state of our collective diet. Recently, the American Institute for Cancer Research published some statistics about our snacking habits and Today talked about our favorite types of snacks as of 2012. Snacking is replacing meals and nearly half of our population enjoys eating alone because they can get other things done at the same time.

 

It’s even worse that snacks change our taste for healthy foods. Craving snacks is an indication that we are not satisfied with our meals. And through not eating meals at all, snack cravings will naturally increase. Naturally healthy foods are moist and flexible, which is nearly the complete opposite of the dry, salty snacks that are the most popular. The dry, salty, snacks also create cravings for unhealthy liquids. It seems to me that this increased snacking is a symptom of a greater frustration in other areas of life, be it socially, emotionally, or job related.

 

If you’re going to snack, go to a health foods store, find a snack that has ingredients that you can understand. The second step is to then introduce foods that are naturally moist and refreshing and have a mild, natural sweetness. Replacing snacks with healthier choices is a much better approach than trying to stop them.

 

What are your favorite healthy snacks?

2 Comments | Tags: Adjusting Your Diet

Mom was always right

Posted on by Denny Waxman
The Atlantic recently published an article about broccoli sprout tea:
Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables have similar effects on mitigating air pollution.
Chemo-prevention is much better than chemo-therapy.

No Comments | Tags: Articles and Research, Uncategorized

A Common Sense reaction to “Fed Up”

Posted on by Denny Waxman

You may want to check out Colin Campbell’s review of the film “Fed Up”.

 

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I would like to add some thoughts about singling out sugar as the cause of our health problems. Historically, the Industrial Revolution was the beginning of large-scale nutritional imbalance through the disruption of eating patterns and increased, large-scale food refining. Animal food, dairy and sugar consumption have increased since that time, together with the rise in degenerative illness.

Trying to stop something is rarely successful; the weight-loss industry demonstrates this. The only approach that can produce long-lasting heath is a varied and satisfying whole food plant-based diet combined with good eating habits and lifestyle practices.

1 Comment | Tags: Uncategorized

Obesity in the U.S.

Posted on by Denny Waxman

The U.S. Leads the way again! Unfortunately, it is individual obesity rate.

 

City Lab Obesity Report

 

How many people do you know practicing macrobiotics or other plant-based diets have issues with being overweight or obese?

No Comments | Tags: Adjusting Your Diet, Articles and Research, Macrobiotic Diet

A Dose of Seaweed

Posted on by Denny Waxman
Miso Soup and Seaweed

Miso Soup and Seaweed

 

Seaweed is coming into the limelight as a superfood because of its abundance of unique nutrients and health benefits. Using seaweed in cooking provides the best protection available against environmental toxins and radioactivity. The iodine in brown seaweed helps maintain the thyroid as well as protect against radioactive iodine. Seaweed protects against and helps pull radiation and heavy metals (such as: mercury, cadmium, barium, lead, arsenic, radioactive strontium-90, to name a few) from the body by binding with them and rendering them inert. Toasted nori has natural anti-biotic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-septic properties.

Preparing seaweeds in appropriate ways allows us to derive the maximum benefit of their properties. Seaweed is similar to salt in that it is important for our health, vitality and immunity, but too much negates these benefits. It’s also important to buy high-quality seaweeds from natural food stores and companies.

 

I recommend preparing these various seaweeds in the following ways:

Nori (between a few and several sheets/wk)- in a roll, as a snack, as a garnish*

Wakame (1 or 2 inch pieces/serving often or daily)- in miso soups, in vegetable soups, or sauteed with vegetables

Kombu (standard postage stamp piece – 2 inch strips)- best cooked with beans (2 inch strips) or in a grain dish (stamp-sized)

Arame and Hijiki- best cooked with onions and carrots as a side dish.

 

 

*also great for cats and dogs!

5 Comments | Tags: Adjusting Your Diet

The Importance of Sunlight in the Morning

Posted on by Denny Waxman

There was a slideshow from weather.com called “7 Signs You Need More Sunlight– and Don’t Know It.” The morning sun helps many emotional and physical discomforts.

 

We have the greatest ability to release unneeded excess in the early morning hours close to sunrise. It happens as soon as our feet literally hit the ground. The sun rises with a burst of energy that evaporates the dew. This evaporation refreshes everything. The rising sun affects us similarly. This explains why it is more difficult to get started on a rainy or cloudy day. However, whether we can see the sun or not, we still have the best ability to clean and refresh ourselves early in the morning. If we go out and become directly exposed to the early morning sun, we are even more fully charged with its energy.

Philadelphia Dawn Covered with Fog and Dew

 

It’s also important to understand the overall rhythm of the day and night. We eat during the day and are active. At night we utilize the food we ate during the day to maintain and repair ourselves. We recharge our brain, nervous system and organs during the night. The activity during the day charges us physically, mentally, and emotionally. Furthermore, during the night with deep sleep, the inactivity allows us to be nourished by the celestial energies that are blocked by the sun during the day. Before we wake, we gather the physical and energetic excess to release upon rising. Upon rising, we reset our biological clocks and activate our metabolism for the day.

 

This relationship is a bit like breathing. When we breathe in more deeply, we breathe out more deeply. We connect more with our ourselves through this breathing, and receive more air and oxygen. The day for us is breathing in and gathering, and the night like breathing out and releasing. When we start the day earlier, we are able to “breathe” the day more deeply and in turn, become more nourished.

 

4 Comments | Tags: Articles and Research, Macrobiotics, Mental Health

Ben Franklin, Creativity and Macrobiotics

Posted on by Denny Waxman

What good shall I do today?

Order and structure fosters health, vitality, and creativity. We can see from the recent Huffington Post article that various types of creative geniuses across cultures had specific routines for mealtimes, sleep, and work. Could it be that the structure of their lives was the key to their creativity?

Ben Franklin’s routine stood out the most for me because his meal and sleeping times closely parallels the schedule that I encourage in my book and seminars. The article does not go into the details of their diets, but Ben Franklin talks about his dietary habits in his autobiography. He became a vegetarian at the age of 16 and returned to his vegetarian practice throughout his life. He believed that grains promoted health and vitality. I also learned today that he was the first American to introduce tofu (tau-fu) to the Colonies by sending soybeans to John Bartram in Philadelphia in 1770.

Ben Franklin's Daily Schedule

Ben Franklin’s Daily Schedule

 

Creativity comes from nature. There is nothing more amazingly and wildly creative than nature itself. Our real creativity comes from aligning ourselves with nature, both with our food and daily schedule. Our approach to macrobiotic practice which encourages having a daily schedule may seem restrictive, but all of these creative people had one thing in common: a regular, daily schedule. We can see from Ben Franklin’s example that macrobiotic practice helps us get in touch with the creative spirit of nature.

 

No Comments | Tags: Macrobiotic Philosophy